The concept of human rights in Islam

In order for us to do justice to the subject of Islamophobia, it is imperative that we understand what fear entails. Fear is defined as “a distressing emotion aroused by imminent danger, harm, pain, etc.,

whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. In accordance with this definition, it would not be wrong to claim that many in the Western world currently live in a state of fear of Islam. However, it must be recognized that the threat that Islam is perceived to pose to the world is imaginary rather than real.

Unfortunately, although the repercussions of this irrational fear of Islam not only affect individual Muslims in the form of increased discrimination, harassment and persecution, they also seep into the decisions of foreign policy around the world.

The West has many misconceptions about Islam, especially when it comes to human rights. Often, human rights abuses in some dictatorial regimes in the Muslim world are cited to prove this point.

The point to note is that human rights abuses can never really happen in genuine Islamic states. Ironically, the West continues to support these oppressive autocracies and despotic regimes in the Muslim world, ignoring the popular voices that oppose these regimes and their leaders.

Islam upholds the same precepts of human rights as enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Unfortunately, it is clear that these rights are rarely respected in the so-called Muslim world.

The word Islam literally means submission to God, which only means that Islam encapsulates the same moral principles described in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, both of which served as models for the code of law and the legal system. modern Westerners.

The Last Prophet (M-SAWW) introduced the concept of human rights in Arabia when there was no such concept in the world, what about 7th century Arabia. He is the one who promoted human rights and human dignity not only for his followers but also for all mankind.

Islam, as a growing force in the world, is not a threat and is compatible with Western ideals of freedom and democracy.

This is not to say that an Islamic society would resemble an American society, but none of the socialist democracies or monarchies found throughout Western Europe and much of the Western world are modeled after the American system.

The goal of the West, especially America, should not be to impose its own version of democracy on the Islamic world, but rather to support the rise of governments that uphold the same principles of equality, freedom and justice that the West cherishes.

Undoubtedly, the message of some emerging Islamic groups tends to be more extreme (often distorting or misinterpreting Islamic teachings), but the West must understand that this is often a reaction to the policies of some of its states and their governments.

If Islamic groups that uphold human rights and representative ideals receive support from the West, they could gain a foothold in the Muslim world and help usher in a new era of peace and prosperity.

Before proceeding to unveil human rights as envisaged in the Quran, it is necessary to point out that while most Muslim scholars cite human rights to highlight some apparent similarities between the value systems Western and Islamic, they wrongly try to conceal Islamic values ​​in contemporary reality. Western ideological dressing in order to project them in a favorable light.

Using the UDHR as a point of reference, they fashion flimsy arguments using verses such as: “We honored the children of Adam (AS) and carried them over land and sea and provided them with good things and we have preferred to many of those whom we have created” (Qur’an, 17:70) to prove, for example, that “dignity is a resolute principle which every human being deserves on the humanitarian level”.

This initiative is simply an attempt to extract from the Quranic verses something resembling modern Western statements. In fact, most readers would not otherwise have interpreted dignity in this passage as it is conventionally defined (dignity: “the quality or state of being worthy of esteem or respect”).

Islam does uphold the spirit of these values, but refers to them in a way that can be applied across time and space. The Quranic precepts are universal and aim at individual spiritual development, as well as a plan to establish peace and harmony between peoples.

For example, God says in the Qur’an: “O men, we created you from the same male and the same female, and we made you distinct peoples and tribes, so that you could recognize each other. The best of you in the eyes of GOD is the fairest. GOD is Omniscient, Knowing.” (Qur’an, 49:13)

This affirmation of a single common line of ancestry unites all human beings as brothers and sisters.

After all, we are all descendants of a father and a mother. From this clearly flow the concepts of brotherhood and reciprocity and all the other ideals essential to civilized interactions between peoples.

However, the pursuit of happiness in Western and Islamic contexts may differ. If one person’s pursuit of happiness infringes on another individual’s basic rights, Islam would not tolerate it, given the obvious hardship that would result (cannibalism is an extreme, albeit excellent example) .

While Quranic ideals are timeless, Islamic thinkers must explain them in universal terms.

For example, readers need not be reminded that slavery was permitted in the United States until 1865 (though technically not until 1928 with the abolition of the convict lease system and even with such legislative mandates, most slaves bought and sold today – for sex, labor, etc., unfortunately find their destination in modern Western countries without much media or legislative attention).

The Quran has discouraged slavery since 600 CE. Based on the typical frivolous approach of “catching up” and imitating Islamist thought, Muslim apologists, before 1865, would even have argued that Islam also allowed slavery because it never did. forbidden.

Again, Islamists should focus their efforts on defending universal truths as conveyed through all sacred scriptures, especially the three Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Some of these timeless spiritual principles are reflected in the thirty articles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, although many have still been left out, as the following paragraphs will show. (To be continued)

—The author is the secretary general of the Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum.